In this interview with Monita Rajpal , the critically acclaimed architect and designer Thomas Heatherwick discusses his approach to projects, the importance of working with a team, and his philosophy on designing buildings and sculptures without having a personal trademark.
Since founding the Heatherwick Studio in 1994, Thomas Heatherwick has garnered international recognition as one of the most influential and innovative designers today. Heatherwick’s works span a wide range of disciplines—from architecture, furniture, fashion, and product design to engineering, transportation design, and urban planning—and are executed on a variety of scales.
Born in London in 1970, Heatherwick was introduced to design at an early age by both of his parents. His mother, a bead collector, helped Heatherwick to develop his aesthetic while his father introduced him to architecture and design. As a child, Heatherwick frequently worked on inventions, anything from mechanical birthday cards to go-karts. He went on to study 3-D design at Manchester Polytechnic, where he received a degree in 1991, followed by study in a two year Furniture MA program at the Royal Academy of Art, receiving a degree in 1994. Upon graduating, he established the Thomas Heatherwick Studio (now the Heatherwick Studio) where over the last 18 years, he and a group of fellow designers, architects, and engineers have worked on nearly 200 projects.
Heatherwick has won various honors and awards, including honorary doctorates from four universities: Sheffield Hallam, Brighton, Dundee, and Manchester Metropolitan University. Heatherwick is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects and is a Senior Fellow at the Royal College of Art. Additionally, he is the youngest practitioner to be appointed a Royal Designer for Industry. His works have been exhibited in England and internationally, and in 2012 the Victoria And Albert Museum hosted a retrospective of the works of Heatherwick Studio called, “Heatherwick Studio: Designing the Extraordinary.”